Anche quest’anno, puntuali e ossessive, arrivano le liste dei migliori libri.
Cominciamo con i “100 Notable Books of 2012” del New York Times.
Poi ci occupiamo anche dei 10 migliori (sempre secondo loro). Per ora i 100. Ne ho selezionati un po’: la lista completa sul sito del Nyt.
I primi dieci di fiction + 4
ALIF THE UNSEEN. By G. Willow Wilson. A young hacker on the run in the Mideast.
ALMOST NEVER. By Daniel Sada. Translated by Katherine Silver. Satire of machismo.
AN AMERICAN SPY. By Olen Steinhauer. World of espionage.
ARCADIA. By Lauren Groff. A post-global-warming future.
AT LAST. By Edward St. Aubyn. The final and most meditative of Patrick Melrose novels.
BEAUTIFUL RUINS. By Jess Walter. Hollywood: a landscape of vice, addiction, loss and disappointed hopes.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK. By Ben Fountain. The survivors of a fierce firefight in Iraq in this satirical novel.
BLASPHEMY. By Sherman Alexie. Stories.
THE BOOK OF MISCHIEF: New and Selected Stories. By Steve Stern. Jewish immigrant lives.
CANADA. By Richard Ford. A boy whose parents rob a bank in Montana in 1960 takes refuge across the border in this mesmerizing novel, driven by fully realized characters and an accomplished prose style.
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY. By Colm Toibin. This beautiful work takes power from the surprises of its language and its almost shocking characterization of Mary, mother of Jesus.
THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER. By Junot Díaz. The stories in this collection are about love, but they’re also about the undertow of family history and cultural mores, presented in Díaz’s exciting, irresistible and entertaining prose.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK: Stories. By Nathan Englander. Englander tackles large questions of morality and history in a masterly collection that manages to be both insightful and uproarious.
I primi 10 nonfiction + 9
ALL WE KNOW: Three Lives. By Lisa Cohen. The vanished world of midcentury upper-class lesbians is portrayed as beguiling, its inhabitants members of a stylish club.
AMERICAN TAPESTRY: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. By Rachel L. Swarns. A Times reporter’s deeply researched chronicle of several generations of Mrs. Obama’s family.
AMERICAN TRIUMVIRATE: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf. By James Dodson. The author evokes an era when the game was more vivid and less corporate than it seems now.
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? A Comic Drama. By Alison Bechdel. Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother.
BARACK OBAMA: The Story. By David Maraniss. (Simon & Schuster, $32.50.) This huge and absorbing new biography, full of previously unexplored detail, shows that Obama’s saga is more surprising and gripping than the version we’re familiar with.
BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. By Katherine Boo. This extraordinary moral inquiry into life in an Indian slum shows the human costs exacted by a brutal social Darwinism.
BELZONI: The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate. By Ivor Noël Hume. The fascinating tale of the 19th-century Italian monk, a “notorious tomb robber,” who gathered archaeological treasures in Egypt while crunching bones underfoot.
THE BLACK COUNT: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. By Tom Reiss. The first Alexandre Dumas, a mixed-race general of the French Revolution, is the subject of this imaginative biography.
BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History. By Florence Williams. Williams’s environmental call to arms deplores chemicals in breast milk and the vogue for silicone implants.
DARWIN’S GHOSTS: The Secret History of Evolution. By Rebecca Stott. Stott’s lively, original history of evolutionary ideas flows easily across continents and centuries.
HAITI: The Aftershocks of History. By Laurent Dubois. (Metropolitan/Holt, $32.) Foreign meddling, the lack of a democratic tradition, a humiliating American occupation and cold-war support of a brutal dictator all figure in a scholar’s well-written analysis.
HOW MUSIC WORKS. By David Byrne. This guidebook also explores the eccentric rock star’s personal and professional experience.
IRON CURTAIN: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956. By Anne Applebaum. An overwhelming and convincing account of the Soviet push to colonize Eastern Europe after World War II.
THE ONE: The Life and Music of James Brown. By RJ Smith. Smith argues that Brown was the most significant modern American musician in terms of style, messaging, rhythm and originality.
SAUL STEINBERG: A Biography. By Deirdre Bair. A gripping and revelatory biography of the eminent cartoonist.
THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH. By Edward O. Wilson. The evolutionary biologist explores the strange kinship between humans and some insects.
SPILLOVER: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. By David Quammen. Quammen’s meaty, sprawling book chronicles his globe-trotting scientific adventures and warns against animal microbes spilling over into people.
VICTORY: The Triumphant Gay Revolution. By Linda Hirshman. Written with knowing finesse, this expansive history of gay rights from the early 20th century to the present draws on archives and interviews.
WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST? An Existential Detective Story. By Jim Holt. An elegant and witty writer converses with philosophers and cosmologists who ponder why there is something rather than nothing.